The daughter of a Scottish father and Chinese mother, Vanessa grew up surrounded by different cultures and experiences. She began playing piano at the age of 6, which expanded to flute, guitar, saxophone, and accordion. She began private art lessons at the age of 11. 

As a result of her father’s encouragement to pursue an advanced degree in art, she enrolled in illustration classes at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. After taking figure and portrait painting for the first time in 2009, she fell in love with the subject matter and began to paint and draw her family and friends. Vanessa finds pleasure in pulling out the unique details in each of her portraits and practices a modern twist on the traditional portrait. 

Vanessa received a Bachelor's degree in Art & Design from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and a Masters of Art in Illustration from Academy of Art University in San Francisco.